Benjamin Oh


Benjamin Oh is a current senior in the College of Arts and Sciences, studying Philosophy, Politics and Economics with a concentration in Public Policy and Governance. After graduating, he will be submatriculating into the School of Social Policy to pursue a Master's of Science in Social Policy. Although he is Co-Director of Penn Leads The Vote and RFK Young Leaders, a fellow with the Program on Opinion Research and Election Studies, and board member of the Asian American Studies Undergraduate Advisory Board, he tries to make time for friends, exercise, adventures, and food. He can be reached at to talk about life, politics, and cute animals (and anything else).

L's Taken


"Thank you for applying but..." Jobs

  • Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
  • The Brooking's Institute
  • American Institute for Research
  • Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center
  • Center for American Progress
  • Brennan Center for Justice
  • Capital One


Clubs that "weren't a good fit"

  • International Affairs Association
  • Ran for Penn Taiwanese Society President
  • Ran for Asian Pacific Student Coalition Chair
  • Strictly Funk
  • Penn Taiwanese Society Board


Things I Swore I'd Finish But Never Did

  • Decorating my room
  • Learning Korean
  • Relearning Python/Coding
  • My daily journal
  • My growing collection of unread books
  • Cooking all my meals
  • My New Yorkers
  • All those articles I bookmarked for later


Everyday L's of Life

  • Not having enough time
  • Burning the outside of the chicken while undercooking the inside
  • Not enough sleep
  • Acne
  • Not knowing what I'm doing after graduation
  • Body insecurity
  • Introversion
  • Forgetting to eat


Failures That Seemed Like the End of the World Back Then But Don't Matter in Hindsight

  • Asked for an extension
  • Getting a C
  • Internship rejections
  • Missing a deadline
  • Losing an election
On the Bright Side


Memories I Made While I Wasn’t Studying/Working

  • Supporting a friend in need
  • Watching the sunrise from the rooftop lounge
  • Walking along the river trail
  • Conversations until 4 AM
  • Breakfast for dinner
  • Playing Slenderman with my freshman hall
  • Karaoke nights
  • Late night dinner and Smash
  • Dancing the night away at a concert


Things I've Learned That Will Still Matter in 10 Years

  • It will be ok, even if it doesn't feel like it ever will be right now.
  • Your closest friends will never think of you as a burden.
  • Behind every smile is a sad story.
  • It's okay to say no.
  • Sometimes, even your best won't be good enough.
  • Don't give up.
  • Be confident in who you are and what you want to be.
  • Passion is irreplaceable.
  • There is nothing more valuable than time, save some for the people you love.
  • Never stop exploring.


Books I've Read For Fun

  • Between the World and Me
  • Fatal Invention: How Science, Politics, and Big Business Re-create Race in the Twenty-First Century
  • Do Not Say We Have Nothing
  • Native Speaker
  • Writing in the Ghetto: Class, Authorship, and the Asian-American Ethnic Enclave
  • $2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America
  • Parallel Worlds: A Journey Through Creation, Higher Dimensions, and the Future of the Cosmos
  • We Should All Be Feminists
  • The Happiness Hypothesis
  • The Paper Menagerie
  • Last Week Tonight with John Oliver Presents: A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo


Things I'm Proud of That You Won't See on a Resume

  • Pancake flipping
  • My first Canva design
  • Hosting a film screening
  • Protesting in DC
  • Bringing friends together
  • Not killing my succulent
  • Writing an op-ed for the DP
  • Learning Twice's TT dance (I am K-pop trash)
  • Saving a child from drowning
  • Hitting that high note in Frank Ocean's "Thinkin' Bout You" once


Quirks That Make Me Who I Am

  • Roses are grey, Violets are grey, I am a dog (dumb jokes)
  • Being a little too judgy
  • Pretending to know Korean
  • Jamming out to K-pop while weightlifting
  • Not knowing when to quit


Things I've Done That Pushed Me Out of My Comfort Zone

  • Taking a year and a half away from school
  • Reaching out to CAPS
  • Running up a mountain
  • Presentations
  • My first and last case interview
  • Auditioning for Strictly Funk
  • Speaking in front of 400 people


Leaps of Faith

  • Declaring a gap year and leaving the country
  • Emailing someone at the Wilson Center for an internship
  • Cold calling for summer work
  • Interviewing for a PTS Board position from across the world